Lay-off for Robben
Real Madrid's Arjen Robben will be out of action for between three and six weeks with a severely sprained ankle, the Spanish club's doctors said on Monday.
The injury-prone Dutch international winger suffered the injury to his left ankle in the 67th minute of Real's 3-2 win at Recreativo Huelva on Saturday following a wild challenge by the home side's Quique Alvarez.
Robben will miss Real's crucial Champions League last 16 second leg match against Roma on Wednesday.
The nine-time European champions had to come from behind in their legendary Santiago Bernabeu stadium after losing 2-1 to the Italians two weeks ago.
He will also miss at least three of Real's next league matches, his absence coming at a crucial time for the club who lead La Liga by five points with 12 games to go.
Alvarez, who was subsequently sent off for the tackle, was repentant for his reckless lunge at Robben.
"It's the worst day of my professional career It was a serious error. I was wrong and I feel terrible although I never had any malicious intentions," Alvarez told Spanish sports daily Marca on Monday.
Robben was the reigning Spanish champion's most expensive pre-season signing at 36 million euros (53 million dollars) when he moved from English Premiership side Chelsea last summer.
However, the Dutchman has been a costly luxury at times despite his excellent form since the start of the year.
He has only started six league games this season, and played in another six as a substitute, out of Real's 26 so far this season.
Among his various injuries, Robben suffered a torn thigh muscle while away on national team duty in a Euro 2008 qualification match in mid-October and was out of action for a month on that occasion.